PORT MORESBY AIRPORT TO SEE MAJOR EXPANSION

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Half billion dollar project required for LNG

By Patrick Talu

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, March 25, 2010) - Port Moresby’s Jackson International Airport will be expanded and upgraded into an international-class aviation facility in the Asia-Pacific region.

The development is estimated to cost PGK1.4 billion [US$510 million].

The airport expansion follows pressures from the liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, which will increase passenger and aircraft traffic volume into and out of Port Moresby tremendously.

National Airport Corporation (NAC) managing director Joseph Kintau yesterday accepted the Port Moresby International Airport (PMIA) master plan from Jacobs Consultancy.

Mr. Kintau said the current demand for aviation services had put a strain on the existing facilities. "The LNG project, expansions by airlines and booming economic activities are factors that forced us to come up with the plan to raise the airport’s standards to meet the expectations of the air industry," Kintau said.

"The airport is also strategically located in the region where LNG project developers and consumers from the United States, Europe and Asia can have a convenient transit and exit from Port Moresby to other destinations."

He said the current airport, constructed in 1989, was designed to serve an annual capacity of 300,000 passengers.

"After 20 years, we are now serving 1.4 million passengers a year.

"That’s a significant strain on the airport’s facilities and infrastructure."

Highlighting one of the key objectives of the organization’s reforms, Kintau said the 2010 project was to ensure infrastructure development was based on a comprehensive master plan which PMIA was giving priority.

The plan covers the development of infrastructure and facilities over the next 20 years – from 2010 to 2030.

"It is based on passenger and aircraft movements’ forecast and growth in the aviation industry," he added.

Kintau said the new airport would feature dual domestic and international terminals, extension of runways, redevelopment of apron and taxiways and also the commercial development of the aerodrome land.

Asked how it would be implemented, he said: "The most probable implementation method NAC will be pursuing is a possible public-private partnership arrangement.

"We are looking at a possible concession agreement to implement the capital program to deliver the infrastructures, management capacity building and improved financial viability for regional airports through PMIA."

He said the plan also covered the scope of work and, after deliberation by the NAC board, it would be submitted to NEC for approval.

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